This is two days old, but definately worth a look. On the New York Times' website is an easy-to-use interactive tool (click HERE) to figure out the US fiscal budget deficit.
I'm no expert on the this topic, but frankly, until we actually stop seeing red, there are no experts - only lots of opinions. That's why this tool is pretty awesome. By clicking different check-boxes representing various expenses and tax changes, you can see how the projected budget deficit changes.
Another refreshing aspect to this tool, is that it seems to be apolitical. However, economically-minded pontificators will tell you (with absolute conviction) that when taxes or government spending change, ripple effects will cause certain responses in the economy - this is a highly debated topic (conviction = passion). It's not clear to me what assumptions are built into the tool, but it's main point demonstrates clearly the pros-and-cons of taxes and spending. Finally, it bridges a gap for many in that it's less about opinions and more about "how to" fix the budget.
Jack Brown, CFA